[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B005OS2QUK][/pullquote] In this Disney caper Jake Gyllenhaal’s Prince Dastan swings (literally) up to the dizzying heights of blockbuster territory, equipped with the rippling (and surprising hairy) torso of a Hollywood leading man. Golden-hearted former orphan Dastan is implicated in a plot to kill the king who adopted him as a boy and brought him up as his own son. The wrongly accused prince flees from the palace with smouldering princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) who possesses the mysterious ‘dagger’, an artefact which is able to reverse time leaving only the person holding it aware of what has happened.
Dastan must fight to prove his innocence, using the power of the dagger to put things right. However even the jumping, climbing, free running Dastan can’t keep this vehicle in the air. Crashing around his perfectly sculpted physique is the debris of a ridiculously silly plot, a script more wooden than the Trojan horse and the not at all shocking revelation that the man with all the dark eyeliner and satanically pointed beard is in fact the villain.
The film is of course a PG-13 and therefore likely to contain some pretty juvenile plot twists and cues. However, to pass off Prince of Persia -based on the popular video game of the same name- as a live action remake of successful 1992 animated classic Aladdin, Disney either needed to include hefty loads of witty banter between the main characters or at least some winning show tunes.
Regrettably, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has neither. Alfred Molina does well in a turn as a dastardly desert vagabond and ostrich racer with a good side. But the relationship between Dastan, the street-rat who would be king and Gemma Arterton’s Tamina “the virginal priestess who is fooling no one- is as flat as her perfectly toned stomach.
The locations and costumes are expectedly sumptuous and do well in portraying the nebulous Middle Eastern region that we see so often in Hollywood films. But director Mike Newell takes the action from one gorgeous set piece to another set piece without much glue to keep the action, or the illusion, together.